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NYC Pre-Christmas Getaway

23 Dec

With the exception of last year, a weekend trip to New York City has become a December tradition to celebrate my birthday and take in the Christmas magic in the city. My husband doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for dealing with NYC  in what is probably the busiest time of year, but he’s a gem and indulges me all the same. He’s a keeper.

After dealing with insane traffic, we finally made it Friday evening and had a really great Italian dinner at Basso56 before turning in like the lame suburbanites we are. The next day, however, was the highlight. We picked up a few Christmas gifts at Columbus Circle before heading down to Momofuku Noodle Bar, where I really wanted the pork belly bao. I mean look at these bad boys:

Pork Belly bens with hoisin, cucumber and green onions

My mouth is salivating just looking at them again. The ramen was pretty good, but not the highlight. I realize how ridiculous it is that we ate here for lunch, which is only two doors down from Ko where we had dinner reservations. But whatever.

The 12-seat restaurant dishing out 10 plates plus other bites for dinner is really not to be missed. From lychee with frozen/shredded foie gras, ravioli with celery and shaved black truffles, pan seared skate, venison and other mouth-watering plates – we were delighted and stuffed by the time we left. If you live in NYC or are visiting, make this a priority.

Before leaving Sunday afternoon we had lunch with a friend in Chinatown at Joe’s Shanghai for soup dumplings. Sadly, DC doesn’t have any soup dumpling spots so this was a must for me.

The main event – Xiao Long Bao Pork Soup Dumplings are all of it! We ordered two baskets for the three of us (don’t judge) and were able to sample the crab and pork version due to our neighbors who over ordered for two.

Pork soup dumplings

I’ve always been curious of wine chicken, and now know to order it. Very good and refreshing. Pickled cabbage always a good one, too. It was nice to have someone else to eat Scallion Pancakes with, since Anh isn’t a huge fan.

Pickled cabbage and wine chicken dishes

As we left the restaurant and walked around Chinatown, I asked if there are good Vietnamese restaurants around Chinatown or elsewhere in the City, and she didn’t have many solid go-to spots. Are any readers NYC residents or travel there often? Curious to hear about your Vietnamese secret (or not) spots!

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Daydreaming our Honeymoon at the One & Only Reethi Rah Maldives

4 Nov

Guys, it’s cold today. Like space-heater-in-the-bathroom kind of cold. It’s also been almost TWO MONTHS since we tied the knot and went on our amazing honeymoon, so it’s time to relive some of those memories. Last month I previewed our trip put together by Lynn at Bella Vacations, but the Maldives offered so much more.

Before I pile on the photos, a word about the location. If you’ve ever considered vacationing in the Maldives, which is made of a chain of thousands of teeny little islands off the south west coast of India, you know how difficult it is to choose among the many many many resorts. Each island is one, in fact. My head was spinning round and round on Trip Advisor and travel blogs as they all looked amazing. Truly paradise. Fortunately Lynn helped narrow the field and shifted my focus to the One & Only Reethi Rah. We got a great vacation package and the complicated decision was made very simple. Many Maldivian resorts are tiny. Like 10 – 30 villas/huts/whatever tiny. That also means that there are likely to be fewer food choices. Being stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean with only one restaurant that may be underwhelming weighed heavily on my mind, and we went whole-heartedly after the Reethi Rah, which boasts 4 separate restaurants + three more options for lunch.

So grab your hot chocolate, imagine it’s a coconut mocha, and enjoy the splendor that was the One & Only Reethi Rah, Maldives.

Welcome! Reethi Rah translates to Beautiful Life, which indeed it is on this gorgeous island.

One and Only Reethi Rah boat dock arrival

The accommodations were extremely generous and secluded, although we had to move from our original room that was located next to the main restaurant. This was our villa for most of the week on the sunset side of the island. We had beach cruisers to make our way around the island on our own terms. Perfect mode of transportation!

Reethi Rah Villa with bikes

This was our back yard after transferring rooms. It was pretty overcast this day, but the sun still beat through being at the equator. I spent many hours reading and knitting on our loungers listening to the surf and wind. Aaaaahhhhh take me back!

Our private beach with hammock and lounge chairs Continue reading

Dubai Atlantis and Nobu Eats

1 Oct

We spent the first part of our honeymoon in Dubai, which was the connection en route to the Maldives – our ultimate and final destination. In truth I hadn’t ever thought of visiting the country – except maybe to Abu Dhabi for the Formula 1 grand prix – and was excited to experience a new culture in travel. It’s an interesting place, Dubai. They are trying so very hard to make it the ultimate tourist destination.

If you visit in winter (November – March) and love to shop til you drop, this is the place for you. Dubai is Las Vegas, without the casinos. So if  you prefer the more sinful attractions of Las Vegas and could do without the 13 hour flight, hit up the Las Vegas strip.

Poor hubby’s sickness got worse in the hot, humid desert heat and he spent our first day at the Atlantis Palm Island in the clinic on a nebulizer. Someone from the wedding was patient zero and got a bunch of us sick. We will find you….

Anyhow, after hitting the ahhh-mazing ESPA, I was ready to have our first real night out on the Honeymoon. Sick or not, I was going to eat well and enjoy it, damnit! As expected, I was not disappointed.

Nobu omakase dishes and photo with my husband. Continue reading

Previewing Our Honeymoon in Arabian and Maldives Paradise

25 Sep

It’s been a month since my last post and a LOT has happened. Like, I’m finally a Mrs. and we just got home yesterday from a super amazing honeymoon. I went to bed around 9:30 last night and made it to 5 AM today. Let me tell you, it was quite a shock to wake up without the sound of waves crashing, missing my in-room Nespresso machine and the amazing ocean-side breakfast service.  But alas, one must return to reality I suppose.

As for the wedding, I don’t have the professional photos yet but I can assure you the day was absolutely gorgeous if I may say so myself. The weather was perfect. The food was amazing – from the oyster bar featuring local goods to the barbecue dinner and assorted mini pies and cupcakes for dessert. Guests had a blast. We executed our first dance like pros and had an amazing time together. I’ll post more on the details once I have photos to share.

Our honeymoon was planned by Lynn at Bella Vacations and we seriously could not have dreamed of a better trip to Dubai and the Maldives. The experiences were out of this world and the food was top notch at every turn. Each property was also prepared with special “Honeymoon” treats – hard to decide which had the better chocolates, towel swans and other touches.  What do you think?

Continue reading

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